definiteness and possession

Sergey Lyosov sergelyosov at INBOX.RU
Sat Sep 21 20:13:04 UTC 2013

Dear all,
what do we know about the relationship between  definiteness  and “ possession ” in noun phrases with substantive dependents (wife of colleague, President of country, murder of President, man’s elbow, nation’s breakdown, answer to question, builder of house, etc.)?
I am especially interested in how definiteness can interact with “inalienable possession,” which latter means the head of a NP is a transitive (or “relational”) noun, i.e. the one having an obligatory syntactic valency (“son” = “son-of”). I am now working on a description of NPs with substantive dependents in Akkadian, the oldest attested Semitic language (my corpus was written around 1750 BC). Akkadian has neither definite article nor other straightforward ways to express definiteness values, but it has two types of NPs, the shorter one (“man’s son”) and the analytical one “bull of Mr. So-And-So,” where the dependent is encoded by a prepositional phrase. What I am doing now is trying to pinpoint the distribution of the two kinds.
Sergey Loesov
Oriental Institute
Russian State University for the Humanities
6 Miusskaya pl. Moscow 125267, Russia

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